Southeast Asia is one of the region that has a lot of potential to be developed. Consist of ten countries that has some differences between one to another. With the expanding of globalization, countries in ASEAN become more close and borderless. Along with that, the challenges are increasingly coming. In the security side for example, the increasing of transnational crime become the first agenda for ASEAN countries to be discussed. While on the economic side, we can see an interdependency between one to another. There is no single country in ASEAN that stands alone in economic terms. That’s why, we are ASEAN Countries need to join hand in hand to face this challenges together as one.
2 years later, all of us will be unite as one nations, ASEAN Community 2015.
- What is ASEAN Community?
- Why we must we care of it?
- What we can do to face it as a university student?
First, what is ASEAN Community? In 1967, our Founding Father through the Bangkok Declaration formulated the regional institution that now we called Association of Southeast Asia Nation that well known as ASEAN, was expected to bring peace and stability to the region. As a follow up of that common goal, then the leader of each country, in 2003 formulated a concept adopted from Bali Concord II that aims to create a regional stability. More broadly, we need to expand our cooperation between ASEAN Members to face any problems that show up in our region. Thus, give birth to a concept of One Vision, One Identity, and One Community. Now, 2013, and we are moving to achieve that community two years later.
ASEAN Community 2015, has three pillars that is ASEAN Political and Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN SocioCultural Community. In 2015, ASEAN will be more integrated to be a regional organization that become more solid and advanced, build together for one purpose, encouraging the creation of cohesiveness, a common vision of one goal, shared prosperity, and mutual understanding among countries in Southeast Asia region.
Before i go further, for your information, i’m focusing this paper to explain and elaborate more on what kind of form that ASEAN Economic Community will be implemented and why me must care of it. I choose this pillar because all of us here and all of Indonesian outside there will be directly invole to achieve the implementation of this economic integration.
Well, ASEAN Economic Community aim to improve economic stability in the region, and establish strong inter-economic relationship among ASEAN members. The formation of this community, is expected to be able to solve the problems in the economy among ASEAN countries and do not let the economic crisis spread in our region. The AEC will establish ASEAN as a single market and production base making ASEAN more dynamic and competitive with new mechanisms and measures to strengthen the implementation of its existing economic initiatives; accelerating regional integration in the priority sectors; facilitating movement of business persons, skilled labour and talents; and strengthening the institutional mechanisms of ASEAN.
When you go around in market, you’ll see a lot of variety product from other countries whether it’s a clothes, fruits, electronic devices, and more else. This is one of the implementation of single market area that usually we know as a free trade where you can find a free flow of goods, and capital. Free flow of skilled labor also become one of the form of this community. From now on, the skilled labor from the other countries will be easily to find a job in everywhere she/he wants. Skilled labor from Indonesia can go to Singapore or Malaysia or the other ASEAN countries member and vice versa. The questions are, do we really ready to face this single market and free flow of skilled labor? Do we had a preparation to be more competitive with the other country?
There’s some point of view that all of us must focus on the implementation of this economic integration. First, about the free trade. If we’re one of the small and medium bussiness owner, we had a lot of competitor from nine other ASEAN countries. However, if we are consumer, with shopping hobby, we’ll be satisfied with a lot of choice and the relative price of goods, or even similar price. Second, the movement of goods, service, investment, capital, and skilled labor, would be very free to come in and out to our country.
Before we see our strength, opportunity and weakness, Let’s see the Indonesian potentiality/strength to face this challenges:
– 40 % of ASEAN population is in Indonesia.
– Indonesia become the largest maritime country in ASEAN with total 250 million population.
– Indonesia has the largest productive age among nine other countries.
– Indonesia has the largest population with the middle class among nine other countries.
So, What opportunity that we can take from this economic integration in 2015 by looking our strength?
– We can have an Integration beneficial such as opening the larger markets, increasing efficiency and competitiveness, opening employment opportunities in ASEAN region. All of these will improve the welfare of all countries in region especially Indonesia.
– As the largest population country, Indonesia was expected to be able to attract investor into the country and got greater economy opportunities than other ASEAN members state.
– Free trade in the region will encourage the producers and other bussinessman, to produce and distribute goods with high quality, so as to compete with other countries products. Consumers also has the option of alternative variety that can be chosen according to the needs and abilities, from the least to most expensive one.
How about the weaknesses? Here are some Indonesia weaknesses to face this challenges:
– Human Resources competitiveness. With the AEC, Indonesia would be flooded by skilled labors from outside countries. According to BPS statistics, in 2013, from 250million Indonesia total population, Indonesia has 120,41 million labor force, with 5,92% total unemployment. People who work with elementary school background remain dominated the labor workforce, it’s about 47,90%. What does it means? Even if we have a lot of manpower, we just have a dominant low educated workforce. With the influx of outside workers, and of course, well-educated with an adequate education quality such as Malaysia and Singapore labor, citizens of Indonesia must improve their skills so they can compete in the labor market. This job is not easy, because it requires a blueprint for the education system as a whole and the various related professional certifications.
– The level of Indonesia prosperity still relatively low. It is characterized by poverty and hunger is still rampant. BPS on March state that 28,07 million of Indonesian people was still relatively poor population. Job creation may be big, but still it would not be sufficient since most of them are not educated and given the possibility of low average of wage.
– The weaknesses of Indonesian competitive condition. The bussinessman that engaged on the upstream petrochemical industry, steel, textiles and textile products, footwear and electronics, expressed their worried with the inclusion of similar products from China at a price relatively cheaper than domestic products. It will risk their product in domestic market.
With all of this conditions, now, what we’re going to do? Are we just keep silent or we will move? We just count the day, ASEAN Community in front of our eyes. If we’re not do something, slowly but sure, you yourself, your family, your close friends will just be a watcher in this game. Not a player. And you know, a watcher never get anything more than just wasting time that can’t produce anything. You would be left far away. While other people, keep moving forward to a better life. I guess you choose to move.
Well, next, for the third main cases, if we want to move, the big question is, what we can do as a university student? Here i propose some solution. We are as an agent of change, had a main duty to make changes in social community conditions toward a much prosperous life than before with direct or indirect action. We had a capability to do so. We have a knowledge, we are an educated people. More of all, we are the representative of the society itself. We have to be responsible with the people around us. As the next generation, it is our responsibility to do some effort to build a better nation.
The most important thing to do now, is prepared our country by focusing on the improvement of internal country preparation and readiness. We must ensure that every segment of society will be ready facing this thorough economic integration in 2015. Not only the goverment, but all of us, rich, poor, student, entrepreneur, teacher, lecture, people in urban area, people in rural area and so on.
Actually, government already have general strategy to ensure our country readiness toward the implementation of AEC 2015 such as improving the quality of human resources in both the bureaucracy, world bussiness or professional, and strengthening the position of medium-scale entreprises, small and bussiness in general.
So, as a university student, what we can do to help this general strategy in relation with broader community?
First of all, we must make everyone know about the ASEAN Community. In the university student level, sometimes we do a workshop or seminar as a forum for the dissemination of information and this seminar, become an effective discussions media between university student from all Indonesia region as a representative of their region, and public. From this seminar we can have a comprehensive understanding about ASEAN Community, and also from our discussion, we can produce something as a result and become an input to government. From them who join this seminar, are expected to spread the information to all of their family, friends, and colleagues. From this strategy, we expected will produce literate society toward asean community 2015.
Second, to reach the middle and low class society, we must directly meet them. Do you ever heard about student service regular or intellectual social responsibility? Now, i offer you that kind of activity as one of my solution. Intellectual social responsibility, means that we directly in touch with the community. So, some of the university student in charge, are spread to all region in Indonesia for some month. Their main duty is to introduce the ASEAN Community to the local citizen, and directing them on how to face the 2015. Not only that, they must be able to arrange some program that aim for that two main purposes. For example, university student from economic faculty can help the small and medium bussiness in the area to improve their quality of product, and manage their administration to become more efficient and effective. The university student can do some research, and help by giving an additional value to the local product to compete with the other countries product. The university student from engineering faculty can help to create a tools that can be useful to the production process of the product itself. And so on. For make this effort become effective, we must join hand in hand with the government and the other sources that can make this effort become a real action not just a wishful thingking.
Third, i do really care about education in rural areas especially. They need our more attention to help them. Have you ever think how them in rural areas, will face this ASEAN Community? They are far from high quality education, will they survive? In this era, knowledge and education is the highest value that people must have. That’s why, i invite all of you, let’s start to give an education to a rural areas, to them who needs our help. Let’s join hand in hand to become their partners in education. There’s a lot of way we can help them. Send them a book for example or be their teacher and mentor in every aspect of education whether it’s about language, leadership, entrepreneur and many else. Nothing is wasted, we must help them, we must help our nation. And that’s our task when we assume the status of university student.
Last but not least,
ASEAN Community has been in front of our eyes. It is not too late to prepare our community and ourself. Let us personally:
– Prepare ourself with a competitive capability
– Reduce consumerism attitude
– Proud to domestic product, use and consume it
– Establish communication and cooperation (networking) with all the Indonesian university student to improve the quality of human resources.
I think that’s all. I hope we can be a real social agent of change. That’s what i want when i write this paper. “By empowering local community, we build a strong nation to face ASEAN Community 2015”. To achieve that, all is in your hand. You decide it. Thank you.